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New leak shows Apple's removing an iconic feature from the iPhone 15 Pro

Will Apple face the same backlash as OnePlus did for removing the Alert Slider?

Published onMarch 21, 2023

iPhone 15 Pro mute button leak
  • New iPhone 15 Pro renders and video show the mute switch is being killed off.
  • The company is likely replacing the physical slider and the volume buttons with new solid-state buttons.
  • It’s a decision that may not sit well with long-term iPhone users.

When OnePlus removed the Alert Slider from the OnePlus 10T, it faced major backlash from long-term fans of the physical switch. Now Apple’s possibly headed towards the same upset as a new design leak shows the iconic mute switch is being replaced by a solid-state button on the iPhone 15 Pro.

Corroborating previous reports, the new iPhone 15 Pro images and video shared by Twitter tipster ShrimpApplePro show that the phone will feature a new design for the volume keys and the mute switch. The tactile slider that allows current iPhone users to quickly put their phones on silent is going away in favor of the new mute button. This means the button won’t have moving parts this year and will identify the pressure applied to work.

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The buttons!
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— ShrimpApplePro 🍤 (@VNchocoTaco) March 20, 2023

The volume keys on the iPhone 15 Pro are also unified. So instead of two individual buttons to increase or decrease the volume, the iPhone 15 Pro will get one large capacitive button to change the volume level depending on where it’s pressed.

Meanwhile, the latest CAD files also show that the regular iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro won’t add the new mute button design. They will continue to retain the switch-style slider.

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo previously reported that the company may adopt the new design change across future iPhone models if users respond positively to it.

iPhone 15 Pro mute button change: Good or bad?

As someone who has used an iPhone for a very long time, I am not sure how I feel about the mute switch going away on the new iPhone 15 Pro. I am currently using the iPhone 12, apart from the Pixel 7, and was hoping to switch to the iPhone 15 Pro model this year. I’ve always thought of the mute switch as one of the best little features of the iPhone line. It’s easily identifiable when the phone is in the pocket no matter its orientation, or when I have to quickly mute my phone in my pitch-dark bedroom at night.

While Apple’s new mute button is reportedly designed to simulate the feel of a physical button’s force feedback thanks to an additional taptic engine, I am not sure if it’ll have the same ease of comfort to it as the current switch design. It’s also unclear how case makers will design new cases around the mute button. Current iPhone cases feature a gap where the mute switch is present, making it easy to reach and distinguish from other buttons on the phone. iPhone 15 Pro cases could possibly cover up the new mute button, and in the process, make it harder to recognize if you’re not looking at the phone directly.

That said, I’m going to hold off my judgment until I get a chance to try out the new mute button on the iPhone 15 Pro firsthand. Hopefully, I’ll be pleasantly surprised.

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